Terrence McDonald never saw himself as a trailblazer.
He believed that title belonged to his mentor, Thomas Perry, the first black veterinarian in Wichita.
Dr. McDonald came to work with Perry during a semester break at Kansas State University in the early 1940s and liked it so much he abandoned his plans to be a federal meat inspector.
Instead, he came to Wichita, opened a clinic to treat small animals — and became an institution.
Dr. McDonald died March 3 at the age of 92. His funeral will be at 2 p.m. today at Jackson Mortuary Chapel.
Dr. McDonald operated his small animal hospital for more than 60 years — first at 612 N. Water and later at 1004 N. Waco — before finally retiring a few months short of his 90th birthday.
"He was kind, compassionate and had a passion for knowledge," said his daughter, Yvonne McDonald. "He was continuously learning. He read constantly."
That meant he could find something to talk about with pretty much any of his clients. He enjoyed talking with them, his daughters said, and enjoyed working with the animals.
It was not unusual for clients to bring their dogs to Dr. McDonald's clinic for decades. He always took time to explain what he was doing and to give detailed explanations about how to care for the dogs at home.
Dr. McDonald was one of 20 people honored in a "Wichita/Kansas African American Trailblazers" exhibit at the Kansas African American Museum in 2000. The exhibit recognized people deemed living legends for their accomplishments.
Dr. McDonald continued going to his clinic long after most folks retired.
"He went over there every day," Yvonne McDonald said. "He had something to do."
If his clinic was his favorite place to go, the library had to be next on the list.
"He always had a book — he was always going to the library," his daughter said. "The library was one of his best friends. As far as he was concerned, there was no answer the library didn't have."
Dr. McDonald is survived by his longtime friend and companion, Tempie Hurssey; daughters Judith McDonald Wakefield and Yvonne McDonald; four grandchildren; a niece and other relatives.